High dropout rates mean more homicides and aggravated assaults, says Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca. “It is a tragedy. We have 50 percent of students drop out of high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District,” Baca said, reports the Los Angeles Times. “Many of them are going to be in L.A. city jails as adults.” In a letter to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Baca and more than 200 other law enforcement officials, declared an “urgent need to act now” to keep students from dropping out.
A report from Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, “School or the Streets: Crime and California’s Dropout Crisis,” says that increasing the graduation rate 10 percent would prevent 500 homicides and more than 20,000 aggravated assaults each year in California. The report proposes some solutions. They include mentoring, better teaching, quality preschool, and monitoring of at-risk students. One program proposes grouping students and teachers together until graduation.